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Indivisible - Duke University

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8 to 12
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The real-life struggles and stories of Americans living in twelve diverse communities are highlighted in this multimedia documentary. Through photographs and recorded voices, visitors...more
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The real-life struggles and stories of Americans living in twelve diverse communities are highlighted in this multimedia documentary. Through photographs and recorded voices, visitors to this site can catch a glimpse of the community spirit that compels individuals to find ways to improve their lives and surroundings.

tag(s): communities (38)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a springboard to a class project. Ask your students to document the community spirit in their own town, city, or neighborhood using photography, video, and personal interviews.

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New Sense, Inc. vs. Fish Till U Drop - EconEdLink

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9 to 12
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Here's an economics lesson for high school students that explores the rights of individuals versus the obligations of government to preserve and protect natural resources. The site...more
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Here's an economics lesson for high school students that explores the rights of individuals versus the obligations of government to preserve and protect natural resources. The site presents opposing economic theories and asks students to evaluate the merits of each as they apply to a hypothetical example. While written as an economics lesson, this example could also work as part of a government class. Aligned to national standards.

tag(s): natural resources (59), resources (109)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of this free lesson plan about the economics of natural resources. Be sure to save the site as a favorite on your classroom computer to allow for easy retrieval later on.

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9/11 - Voices of Reflection - NPR

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6 to 12
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This collection of first-person accounts, reflections, and musical offerings makes an interesting retrospective on the September 11 attacks, and one that classes can listen and react...more
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This collection of first-person accounts, reflections, and musical offerings makes an interesting retrospective on the September 11 attacks, and one that classes can listen and react to together. These recordings could offer a variety of ways in which to focus a discussion of those events.

tag(s): sept11 (17)

In the Classroom

Use some of the first hand accounts as a way to teach both about primary sources and the events of 9/11. Divide the class into cooperative learning groups, preferably with 4-5 differing groups. Assign each group a different primary source from the site, with the intentions of presenting a summary to the class. Once all the groups have presented their summaries, play a quick game "survivor" style in which students defend their pieces by validity and reliability. Have a representative from each group go to the front of the classroom, presenting a brief argument where theirs is the most reliable source. After each has presented, have the class vote off sources in rounds until there is only one left! This is a fun way to both teach the content & incorporate historical thinking skills.

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Records Pertaining to John G. Roberts - National Archives

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9 to 12
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This collection of records of the professional career of John Roberts offers an interesting, if daunting, primary resource for examining the Supreme Court nominee's past decisions....more
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This collection of records of the professional career of John Roberts offers an interesting, if daunting, primary resource for examining the Supreme Court nominee's past decisions. AP history or government students may find this one a useful research tool.

tag(s): supreme court (23)

In the Classroom

Too often in the upper levels students have extreme problems interpreting and comprehending decisions and memorandums written by Congress of the Supreme Court. Use this site to help students get accustomed and assimilated to the language and writing style commonly used in Judicial writings. And activity such as this would be useful before interpreting important court decisions such as Plessy v. Ferguson or Brown v Board of Education. Open the site on the interactive whiteboard or projector, and open one of the memorandums written by Judge Roberts. Analyze with students each of the seperate sections or paragraph to give them familiarity. Teachers can leave it at this, or have students practice writing their own memorandums after wards, using one of his as an example.

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John Roberts Nominated as Chief Justice - NPR

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6 to 12
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NPR's collection of stories about the Roberts nomination includes background on his career, a look at the confirmation process, and discussions of Roberts and the rare opportunity to...more
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NPR's collection of stories about the Roberts nomination includes background on his career, a look at the confirmation process, and discussions of Roberts and the rare opportunity to fill two court vacancies. Useful for individual or group use.

tag(s): senate (9), supreme court (23)

In the Classroom

Though there have been judges nominated and appointed more recently than Roberts, this site provides some excellent information that makes it a great resource for a lesson on judicial nominations. Use this site as a hands-on activity after a class discussion or lecture on the topic. Have cooperative learning groups explore the site with the intentions of showing how Roberts moved through the processes to become a judge. Have students create graphic organizers or concept maps demonstrating the process. Use a tool such as bubbl.us (reviewed here) to create and share the concept maps.

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Taming Terrorism - PBS

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9 to 12
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Since September 11, 2001, terrorism has been an ever-present topic in current events discussions. This lesson plan addresses the question of how to stop international terrorism. After...more
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Since September 11, 2001, terrorism has been an ever-present topic in current events discussions. This lesson plan addresses the question of how to stop international terrorism. After preparing a timeline of recent terrorist activities, students examine characteristics of terrorist groups, research the efforts of various organizations who are working to eliminate terrorism, and develop recommendations for possible solutions. Aligned to National Standards.

tag(s): terrorism (47), terrorist (16), timelines (63)

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Watergate Revisited - Washington Post

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7 to 12
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The unmasking of "deep throat," the shadowy informant in the Watergate saga, has prompted a new wave of interest in the sandal that changed American government forever. This retrospective...more
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The unmasking of "deep throat," the shadowy informant in the Watergate saga, has prompted a new wave of interest in the sandal that changed American government forever. This retrospective from the Washington Post provides not only a current summary, but a review of the original coverage, from the newspaper that broke the story.

tag(s): 1970s (11), water (130)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Have students explore the site with the intentions of creating a summary of the most important events. Have cooperative learning groups create online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. Students can write the book from the perspective of Nixon or Deep throat...a great way to introduce the topic in a non-lecture format.

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History Explorer - Smithsonian

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6 to 12
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This multimedia site explores various facets of American history through Lessons, interactives, Themes and more. Visitors can view objects that are part of the Smithsonian collection,...more
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This multimedia site explores various facets of American history through Lessons, interactives, Themes and more. Visitors can view objects that are part of the Smithsonian collection, navigate between historical eras, or filter the information by selected themes (Arts and Culture, Politics and Reform, etc.) Items in the exhibit are linked to National Museum of American History websites that provide more in-depth information.

tag(s): agriculture (58), american revolution (86), famous people (23), japan (60), japanese (45), jazz (15), lincoln (85), politics (97)

In the Classroom

Use this site as the starting point for individual or group projects. There is enough information in "exhibit" details to provide a starting point for students trying to decide what to base a research project on. Recommend the site to students who are having difficulty picking a project subject.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Foreign War and Domestic Freedom - Public Affairs Television

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9 to 12
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Should government restrict the civil liberties of its citizens during times of war or threatened national security? This beautifully organized lesson plan guides students in an exploration...more
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Should government restrict the civil liberties of its citizens during times of war or threatened national security? This beautifully organized lesson plan guides students in an exploration of the tensions that exist between external threats and internal liberties in democratic societies. Includes a downloadable PowerPoint show and worksheets.

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plan during a unit on the homefront during a modern war or the construction of the Constitution. Save this one as a favorite to allow for easy retrieval.

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Kids and Teens Action without Borders - Action Without Borders

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3 to 12
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This site presents thoughtful and inspiring ways for kids to take an active role in improving the community around them. Click on the "Take a Lead" link for practical ways ...more
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This site presents thoughtful and inspiring ways for kids to take an active role in improving the community around them. Click on the "Take a Lead" link for practical ways to turn your ideas into reality. Plenty of real-life examples are provided, but some creative brainstorming in your classroom is a must. Dozens of lesson plans, covering everything from environmental issues to economics and human rights are provided in the "For Teachers" section.

tag(s): civil rights (120)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site in a civics or government course in order to show students how important political awareness and activism can be - and how they can get involved. Dependent on your class, it may not be important to advocate that they join the cause - but more introduce it and let them know that they can. This might be better at the end of a civics course, culminating all the information they have learned thus far and showing a practical application of it.

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Declaration of Independence - National Archives

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7 to 12
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The National Archives has created an intriguing site that reveals some little known information about this historic document. Discover the number of signers who were born in Europe,...more
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The National Archives has created an intriguing site that reveals some little known information about this historic document. Discover the number of signers who were born in Europe, meet the signer who was a musician, and find out who was the youngest at the time of the signing. A special feature allows you to add your own signature to the document. Also includes a time line detailing the creation of the document.

tag(s): american revolution (86), declaration of independence (13), evolution (99)

In the Classroom

Use the "Meet the founding fathers" section as the basis of character roles for a in-class town hall meeting, recreating the events of the constitutional convention. Assign students different roles, i.e. founding fathers, and have them use the biographies of this site to allow them to research who their role was and what their beliefs were for a debate as to whether or not to sign the Declaration of Independence. If students stick to their assigned perspectives, the town-hall meeting can be a great way to review the important reasons for independence and the various perspectives that existed.
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The Choice 2004 - PBS Frontline

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8 to 12
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Differences between the two presidential candidates are highlighted in this site that examines their lives, experiences, and world views. Dozens of interviews with colleagues, family,...more
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Differences between the two presidential candidates are highlighted in this site that examines their lives, experiences, and world views. Dozens of interviews with colleagues, family, and adversaries are included, along with a chronology of each man's life. Portions of the companion television special can be viewed online.

Although this resource was created for the 2004 Presidential election, the background information, interviews, and links are valuable for teaching about elections in general and for comparing elections as part of U.S. history.

tag(s): elections (76)

In the Classroom

Government teachers teaching about the past few election OR attempting to provide examples of the two party system will appreciate this site. The site has information about Bush & Kerry's political beliefs that can be easily compared to show the differences between the two parties. As a class, compare with a tool such as Venn Diagram on the Interactive Whiteboard or projector. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here).

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What the World Thinks of America - Guardian Unlimited

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9 to 12
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Current Events, U.S. Government, U.S. History - Use this site to generate some heated discussion in your classroom, if you dare, and bring a global view to the 2004 Presidential ...more
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Current Events, U.S. Government, U.S. History - Use this site to generate some heated discussion in your classroom, if you dare, and bring a global view to the 2004 Presidential election. Although this resource was created for the 2004 election, the information is valuable for teaching about elections in general and for comparing elections as part of U.S. history. Summary articles and survey results from polls conducted throughout the world provide insight into peoples' opinions of the policies, president and people of the United States.

tag(s): foreign policy (16)

In the Classroom

Although the information is a little out of date, this could be useful for discussing the impact of globalization on American Politics. Share the site on the interactive whiteboard or projector, using it to start a discussion as to why this is important. Teachers can also use the information as a writing prompt. Pull up the results of the poll on the interactive whiteboard and have students write a short essay as to whether or not the results surprised them, what this could mean, and how this impacts foreign relations. This would be useful in either a civics or history class.

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FactCheck - Annenberg Public Policy Center

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8 to 12
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This searchable, nonpartisan site analyzes and comments on the claims and statements made by U.S. politicians. TV ads, political debates, interviews, and speeches are carefully examined...more
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This searchable, nonpartisan site analyzes and comments on the claims and statements made by U.S. politicians. TV ads, political debates, interviews, and speeches are carefully examined to uncover distortions, misstatements, and mangled facts. A great resource to incorporate into a lesson on the 2008 election process. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): elections (76), news (262)

In the Classroom

After presidential debates, go to Fact Check to see what was true and what was "stretched." Have students use this site for research about the candidates.
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Perspectives on Terrorism - Terrorism Research Initiative

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10 to 12
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When does a freedom fighter or revolutionary become a terrorist? That's the central question in this presentation that introduces the issues of international law and cooperation that...more
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When does a freedom fighter or revolutionary become a terrorist? That's the central question in this presentation that introduces the issues of international law and cooperation that bear on the global pursuit of terrorists. The site combines multimedia presentations, web content, and extensive external links to help students understand the premises behind international cooperation, and the ways in which terrorism tests the limits of that cooperation.

tag(s): iran (12), iraq (32), terrorism (47), terrorist (16)

In the Classroom

Try this one in an AP government or history class, or as part of a World Cultures unit.
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Political Commercials: Leading or Misleading Voters - PBS News Hour

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9 to 12
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Critical thinking and current events come together in this well-planned lesson that asks students to analyze political commercials and look for logical fallacies. After examining the...more
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Critical thinking and current events come together in this well-planned lesson that asks students to analyze political commercials and look for logical fallacies. After examining the techniques used in the commercials, students use a storyboard template to plan their own commercials for fictitious candidates. As an extension activity, coordinate a video project, and record your students' original political commercials. Downloadable handouts and worksheets are provided. Aligned to National Council for the Social Studies Standards.

tag(s): elections (76), politics (97)

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Vote: The Machinery of Democracy - Smithsonian

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7 to 12
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Voting methods in the United States are examined in this beautifully designed on-line exhibit created by the Museum of American History. The varied practices within individual states...more
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Voting methods in the United States are examined in this beautifully designed on-line exhibit created by the Museum of American History. The varied practices within individual states are explored as well as the historical evolution of our ballots and voting systems. Use this site to help students understand the Florida 2000 crisis, as well as the role technology and innovation have played in shaping our experiences at the polls. Although this resource was created for the 2000 election, the background information is valuable for teaching about elections in general and for comparing elections as part of U.S. history. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): college (48), elections (76), electoral college (16)

In the Classroom

Use the interactive exhibition portion of this site as a learning center or station during a unit on the US election process. (extra bonus if your class is specifically studying the 2000 election!)Have cooperative learning groups create podcasts demonstrating their understanding of one of the concepts. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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80 Days that Changed the World - CNN

Grades
8 to 12
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Major events in 20th century history are presented in this impressive CNN site. Visitors can select an era, choose an event, and read a brief synopsis. The video gallery offers ...more
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Major events in 20th century history are presented in this impressive CNN site. Visitors can select an era, choose an event, and read a brief synopsis. The video gallery offers a collection of riveting clips, including the Oklahoma City bombing, the Great Crash of 1929, and the fall of Saigon. Follow the link to a Time Magazine site to find special reports on life-changing events that have taken place over the course of the past eight decades. This is an outstanding supplement to a 20th century American history class.

tag(s): stock market (13), vietnam (36)

In the Classroom

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U.S. Electoral College

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8 to 12
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Most students are a bit fuzzy on the role the Electoral College plays in choosing our president every four years. This site answers many questions in an easy to understand ...more
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Most students are a bit fuzzy on the role the Electoral College plays in choosing our president every four years. This site answers many questions in an easy to understand format. The history behind the system is discussed along with the particulars of its function. An overview of the intricacies of the 2000 election is also provided. This is strictly an informational resource - no bells or whistles - so use your creativity to build a lesson around it.

tag(s): elections (76), politics (97)

In the Classroom

While we're aware this is a public domain site with the reputation of being a bit unreliable, the images on this site would be an excellent resource for government teachers teaching about the Electoral College and its history. Use these images in a lecture or PowerPoint slide to help clarify how the electoral college has functioned in the past.

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People Like Us - PBS

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8 to 12
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Are all Americans created equal or are some more equal than others? This site encourages discussion about social classes in America through entertaining games, resources, and personal...more
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Are all Americans created equal or are some more equal than others? This site encourages discussion about social classes in America through entertaining games, resources, and personal stories. The lesson plan, located at the end of the Teacher's Guide is definitely worth exploring, as is the Statistics Page which presents some fascinating facts about wealth and poverty in America .

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